Saturday, 26 November 2011

Busy Baking

Chocolate Spritz
I know, it's been a while, quite awhile, since I last wrote something here.  Did I lose interest?  Have I given up?  Have I left the planet?  Nope.  None of these things.  I just fell victim to busy-ness.  It's the scourge of the season, although it usually doesn't afflict me this early on -- I mean, c'mon, it's not even December yet!  It's been a good kind of busy I must say.  I got the Christmas cakes baked and packed away.  This is a bit of a production number, taking some three days to complete.  Then I spent a fab day with my daughter-in-law and sister in Erin, making a start on the Christmas cookie baking.  We had a blast!!  And I've been busy writing, but not posting.  The last piece I wrote for my memoir course has been recommended for entry into a writing contest.  No too shabby for a newbie, eh?  I still have to finish polishing it up before I submit it on Tuesday.  Then I wait -- results won't be announced until March.

For those of you who don't know it yet, the other thing I'm working on is another blog just for Advent (those 4 weeks before Christmas).  You can check it out at
There are two introductory posts there now and the rest will arrive daily beginning tomorrow morning (Nov. 27) until Dec. 25.

See you around and about!

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Bookmobile Day

Etobicoke Public Library Bookmobile, circa 1954
     Friday was Bookmobile Day.  Mom and I would walk hand-in-hand down to the end of our short street where the big two-toned green bus parked for an hour every Friday morning from 10:30 to 11:30.  Sometimes we would get to watch this behemoth lumber and creak into place, but most of the time it would be there already, with the stairs pulled out waiting for us.   In good weather the driver would be lounging on the grass smoking a cigarette, but when he would see us coming, he would jump to his feet and with a big smile lift me up into the library on wheels.  Those steps were too big for four year old legs.  Mom always thanked him, and the librarian who greeted us always smiled.
            Inside, both walls were lined with books floor to ceiling and the narrow hallway between them was paved with beige linoleum.  The long thin bank of fluorescent lights that ran down the centre of the bus emitted a comfortable hum.   In the summer, it was hot and airless, so we never stayed very long, but in winter the bookmobile was a cozy refuge from bitter winds, due in no small part to the engine running for the full hour.
            About half way down on the driver’s side was a two foot square window.  This was where the children’s books could be found.  A small kid-sized wooden table with two chairs sat under the window and nestled between two low vertical shelves that displayed the entire children’s collection, perhaps some twenty books in all.  Most of the time I had this special space all to myself -- it seemed not many children got taken to the bookmobile by their mom.
            My favourite books were Lois Lanski’s stories about Mr. Small – Cowboy Small, Policeman Small, Papa Small, The Little Sailboat, and The Little Train,  to name a few.  One day, Mom handed me Ludwig Bemelmans’ “Madeline”, even though I really didn’t think a story about pretty little girls in Paris, France was anything I would like.  As the story goes, Madeline is taken ill and has to go to hospital.  I had just had such an experience, so Madeline and I had something in common.  My mom was very clever!  My all time favourite book was “Curious George”.  George and I had something in common too.  We were both very curious and that occasionally got us into trouble.

            I often had time to just watch Mommy find her books.  She would scan the shelves carefully, often with her right forefinger tracing the bookshelf until she found something of interest, at which point she would pull out the book and read the inside flap.  Then one of two things would happen – she would either put the book back or go on to read the first page.  If then a smile crept across her face, I’d hear the book close with a satisfactory snap and see it triumphantly added to her book bag. 
            Mom was a voracious reader right up until her death at 89 years.  If a book was on the New York Times Best Seller list, chances were Mom had read it, particularly if it was fiction:  “Desirée”, “Auntie Mame”, “Hawaii”, “The Thorn Tree”, “Exodus” as well as anything by Daphne du Maurier or Mazo de la Roche.  I suspect these stories fuelled her inner life and kept her dreams alive.
            Finally we would present our finds to the smiling librarian who would dutifully stamp the cards and then it was out the door we went -- with a little help from the driver – and back up the street, hand-in-hand.  Bookmobile days were special times not so much for the books as for the time spent with Mom – those hand-in-hand walks followed by afternoons curled up beside her while she read to me were precious.


Wednesday, 2 November 2011

All Quiet on the Blog

Seems awfully quiet round these parts lately...
Is there nothing to write?
Is there nothing happening out there of even a little interest?
Has the well gone dry?
Has the interest rate collapsed?
Has vintage forgetfulness claimed yet another nouvelle idée?
Have the lights gone out?
Is this a general power failure, or just a rolling brown out?
Is there a point to all these questions?

Don't just sit there. Write SOMETHING!

Oh all right! 
Well I am still here after all.  If you must know, I am languishing in a still pond of apathy -- no energy nor enthusiasm.  BUT -- a pond has limited boundaries, and therefore so does this float in the doldrums.
Back at cha soon!